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Detox tea, flat-tummy tea, pure-cleanse tea, fit tea…it seems like every day a new over-priced weight loss tea hits the market and is raved about by your favorite influencers.
But do weight loss teas work?
Short answer? No.
For all of you wondering: do weight loss teas work? Well. Here’s the truth.
Weight loss teas contain laxatives and diuretics, which cause you to lose water weight. However, they do not make you lose fat. As soon as you stop consuming the tea, you will regain that water weight: this is not sustainable weight loss.
In addition, weight loss teas claim to use ingredients that boost your metabolism and suppress your appetite. However, there is very little scientific evidence to back these claims, and these weight loss teas can even be dangerous.
Here’s the full truth on why weight loss teas don’t work.
What are weight loss teas?
These detox teas contain a blend of different herbs and ingredients that supposedly help with weight loss. They’re said to boost your metabolism, curb your hunger, burn fat, reduce bloating, and promote bowel health, all of which contribute to weight loss.
However, a lot of these heavily marketed teas aren’t more beneficial or effective than green tea, for instance. But they do cost way more. Worse, they can even be dangerous for your health.
Do weight loss teas work?
While influencers rave about these detox teas and how they make their stomach flat, the truth is weight loss teas don’t WORK. At least not in a healthy, sustainable manner. Let’s look into this a bit further.
The ingredients in weight loss teas
First, I’m going to break down the ingredients that are commonly used in these teas in order to answer our burning question: do weight loss teas work?
The tea blends usually contain a base of green tea, puerh tea, or oolong tea. These three types of teas are known for having weight loss or fat-burning properties.
While some studies (1 2 3) corroborate these results, others aren’t as clear. The weight loss effect is often present only in obese people or individuals with metabolic diseases. It’s very small and in some cases not even significant.
That being said, even if these teas might promote weight loss, you’re better off buying one of them directly instead of getting a fraction from your little fit tea packet. More on that later.
Cinnamon and ginger are other commonly used ingredients in these teas. They do have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, but you’re better off adding the fresh version to your dishes.
Diuretics are also present in weight loss teas. They make you urinate by excreting salt from your body, and the water that comes along with it. Some common diuretics include dandelion, nettle leaf, hibiscus, or horsetail.
All this peeing may make the number on the scale go down, but it won’t last and can even be potentially dangerous. More on that later.
Laxatives are another common ingredient of detox teas…and they are the worst.
Senna leaf is the most powerful one, and other ingredients such as peppermint, licorice and the above diuretic list also possess laxative effects. They promote frequent bowel movements, cause stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
Again, this will result in “weight loss”…but not the kind you want. Stay tuned for more.
Finally, these teas often contain “detox” ingredients, such as elderberry, turmeric, burdock, fennel and more. But they don’t actually “detox” anything.
So, do weight loss teas work or not?
THE ACTUAL EFFECTS
While some of these ingredients have proven benefits, they are very small, very limited, and can be easily achieved in better ways.
Also, guess what: your body has a natural detoxifier…your liver. It basically either converts toxins from your body into non-harmful substances or excretes them.
Your kidneys also filter your blood, removing any waste. Shockingly, this happens even if you’re not sipping on detox tea. Research has shown that there just isn’t enough scientific evidence to say that detox diets have any benefits.
Having a nice cup of cheap green tea is better for your health and your wallet. Check out this article if you want to know why you don’t need to detoxify your body.
If weight loss teas were only ineffective, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. I mean being scammed like that is nothing new. But the thing is, they can actually be dangerous and yet they are being promoted to young audiences.
WHY WEIGHT LOSS TEAS ARE DANGEROUS
FOR YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
A lot of the marketing tactics for these teas are based around their “all-natural” composition. However, just because an ingredient is natural doesn’t mean it’s always harmless. I mean a bunch of plants are poisonous but are as natural as you can get.
While having one or a even a few of these ingredients from time to time is perfectly healthy, consuming all of them repetitively for a prolonged time period is definitely NOT ADVISED.
Like I mentioned earlier, these teas are filled with laxatives and diuretics. If you consume these ingredients too frequently, this could become problematic.
Laxatives stimulate stool extraction, leaving your colon empty a lot of the time. Your colon muscles then get used to resting and start to become weaker. This will cause you to become more and more dependant on laxatives to poop, and you can see how that can be a problem.
These ingredients also cause dehydration from constantly ridding your body of fluids. This puts stress on the organs and can cause headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
Electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, also get excreted at an abnormal pace, which can become pretty dangerous pretty fast. In addition, laxatives can lead to nutritional deficiencies and mess up your healthy gut bacteria.
For your mental health
The physical aspect is pretty scary, but there’s something that scares me even more.
First off, influencers with no nutritional background should NOT be recommending dangerous weight loss products to their predominantly young and impressionable audience.
This sends a terrible message that thinness should be valued above your health, your money, your well-being, etc.
Can you imagine all these young people getting addicted to drinking laxative tea in hopes of flattening their stomachs? Drinking tea should be a pleasurable moment, because you enjoy the taste or find it comforting, and not another fad way to lose weight.
Chances are, you don’t even need to lose weight. However, if you do want to get healthier or improve your bowel movements, here are better things to try.
What to do instead
Your question of “do weight loss teas work” is hopefully answered by now, and you’re going to stay clear of them. But what should you have instead of these teas?
First of all, if you actually enjoy tea and are looking for some benefits, simple green or black teas are better than the weight loss teas. They contain the health benefits (4 5 6) without the risks and are much cheaper!
Another important thing to do is to increase your fiber intake. Lack of fiber is the cause of many digestion and gut issues. Fiber improves bowel health, increases satiety, and is great for healthy digestion. Check out this article on the best high-fiber foods to add to your diet.
Finally, as always, eating healthy whole foods, limiting processed foods, and being in tune with your hunger cues are the best ways to get healthier and lose weight in the long run.
In conclusion, do weight loss teas work?
Weight loss teas contain laxatives and diuretics, which cause you to lose water weight. However, they do not make you lose fat.
They also claim to use ingredients that boost your metabolism and suppress your appetite, but little scientific evidence supports these claims.
Worse, detox teas can have dangerous effects such as dehydration, nutrient depletion, bowel movement damage, and more. The message they spread is also sad and harmful.
For health and actual natural weight loss, eat plenty of fiber in whole, natural foods, and be in tune with your body.
If you’re interested in nutrition, its impact on our health, and the science behind it, you should definitely read How Not to Die. In this book, Doctor Michael Greger, founder of Nutrition Facts, examines the top causes of death in America and explains how your diet can prevent— and in some cases even reverse— them. His advice is all backed by science and he writes in a very clear and entertaining way. This book isn’t a list of what you already know. It will teach you the keys to living a long healthy life, in a simple and practical way, and without spending fortunes on supplements and pills!
PLUS if you want to take it a step further, you can check out the How Not to Die Cookbook to implement the advice easily!